If you feel like your engagement on Instagram is lacking, you’ve come to the right place. Read on if you want to learn about how Instagram is changing, why your engagement might be low, how to move with the times and best optimize your chances of Instagram success in 2019.
Here’s why your engagement is down, & we’re going to give it to you straight, no BS. Don’t worry, you’re not doomed. We have some tips that may help you at the bottom)
First of all, this is not a ‘you’ problem, this is affecting the vast majority of Instagram users, trust me, you are not alone! Whilst there are probably even more reasons for this, the main factors come down to the following;
a) It is harder these days for your content to even be seen. I’m sure you’re aware of the algorithm changes & the huge influx of users bringing Instagram to 1 billion +
b) Chances are users have liked similar content to yours hundreds (or thousands) of times by now, so although they may actually genuinely like it & enjoy seeing it, they just aren’t performing the action as it’s become so repetitive.
Your content might actually be really great. Maybe even as great as some of the big dogs. Still, unless you are doing something very creative and unique, executed superbly, your chances of getting as many likes as Beyonce are slim.
c) It is now more important than ever to keep on top of your game with your content wether you are receiving the likes you want or not. Your Instagram represents yourself or your brand & you never know who’s looking at it. If you’re a business, every set of eyes on the account, counts!
It may seem like your competition, or similar accounts to yours, are just simply putting out a post & accumulating mass amounts of likes just that easily.
Many of the accounts you see who are getting a substantial amount of likes on their images have either a whole marketing and creative team behind them (this includes many influencers/celebs) OR they are spending a massive amount of time planning, testing & interacting with their audience.
There are also many accounts buying FAKE engagement or joining engagement groups which is also purely fake engagement. (We cannot stress how damaging this is for your account we do not recommend buying anything to do with Instagram that is cheap/fake or uses third party apps, as this puts you at high risk of account ban & it’s also obvious to the Instagram algorithm who will show your content even less. It also looks inauthentic to the users that do see your account)
3. Lack of real estate
There are simply too many users, sorry but we’re all getting lost in this ocean of now 1 billion + users. Instagrammers used to get noticed on the explore page (this is how many achieved ‘Insta-Fame’ in the first place).
This is barely happening anymore as the second you’re up there, millions of other posts are going out so your chances of keeping your spot & having your specific post be seen by a large number of users is just so slim now unfortunately.
4. Changes in the overall Instagram User Experience
What does this mean? Well, have you ever noticed that sometimes you might just go through Instagram Stories & not the actual feed? Is your explore page looking repetitive because the Instagram algorithm is showing you the same type of content it has determined you like the most?
With all the new changes and added features, people are using the platform differently to how they used to. People are often liking less & viewing more on Instagram Story & IGTV.
There have even been studies done that came to the conclusion that users aren’t giving out likes as much as before, many just simply scroll the feed. This might mean that we need to adjust our expectations and put our focus on how many are actually viewing our content.
5. Pay to Play
You are probably aware of what happened to Facebook and that Facebook have now fully absorbed ownership of Instagram. Whilst Instagram and Facebook are free platforms to use, these are businesses and like you, they want & need to make money.
Many believe they drop the engagement purposely so they can finally cash in on the platform via paid ads & promotions. I have to say that this makes total sense & although it sucks for the rest of us, I understand why they are doing it. All we can do really is move with the changes and wait for the next free social media to arise in the future ☺
6. ‘Engagement Spikes’
Last but not least, keep in mind Instagram has a very complex algorithm and the platform requires continuous updates. It happens quite often that you might have simply posted at a time that Instagram was also performing software updates. This means that your content may have been seen even less than usual. This is completely out of your control and you shouldn’t get hung up on this even though you may feel it’s not a good look for your brand — as long as your content has some consistency it shouldn’t matter if a small percentage of your posts don’t get as many likes as the rest.
So where do we go from here? Some tips below!
Perhaps it’s time to focus more on our reach and impressions. If you are set up as a business account Instagram purposely offer these insights in your integrated analytics. Let me explain how this is far more important;
Reach: THIS IS YOUR REAL ENGAGEMENT.
The total number of unique people who view your content. Important to note: Instagram considers views as a form of engagement — & you should too!
Impressions: This is the number of people your content was delivered to overall, who didn’t necessarily engage with it in any way. Think of it simply as the amount of times your content was delivered to a feed.
Having good engagement or a sizeable following on Instagram is a great thing, however your follower count doesn’t mean much without any sort of conversion. So what is your ideal conversion? Are you just looking to grow a fanbase or social proof for your brand? — In this case the conversion would be any of the followers you accumulate.
Are you looking to make sales on Instagram? — Sales may be direct or indirect. For example, a direct sale might mean that they discovered your profile, liked something on your page, visited your bio link & made a direct purchase from your website.
An indirect sale might be something like, a customer found you online or walked by your store & decided to look you up on Instagram. They saw that you have a large following & this provided the instant social proof they needed to complete their purchase.
If you are growing an organic following with GRAMiety for example, every new follower is an opportunity to make new sales.
Do you simply want Instagram users to visit your website? Maybe to sign up to your mailing list or download your latest song or perhaps to download your app? — Although it seems as simple as just providing the link in bio, it’s really not that easy when there are millions of other users also offering a link in their bio.
Or are you just looking to get likes on your photos? — You might be thinking how on earth are these influencers and businesses getting hundreds or thousands of likes on every single image they put out. It may seem silly but this has become something that many seem to be very concentrated on & many view this as the ultimate Instagram success.
So let’s discuss some ways you might achieve this goal. Or better yet, we can do our best to help you understand why you may not be getting the amount of likes you are striving for.
Tips to increase your engagement (likes/comments)
Now you know the main form of engagement you should be paying attention to is your actual reach (how many are clicking/viewing your content). It still doesn’t hurt to try some different things that might help you gain more likes and comments as well.
If your reach is good, people are viewing your content, so how can we convert these views into further interactions? That is the real challenge.
However, there are still a few things that you can do that can help you get people interacting with your content as opposed to just observing it.
1. Engage with others as you want them to engage with you.
Rather than approaching your Instagram account as a means to broadcast your message to others, you should instead think about it as a way to form relationships with your following.
You can’t expect them to engage with you if you’re not making the effort to engage with them. It doesn’t even need to be anything complicated or extravagant. Something as simple as responding to any questions on your posts, liking comments, or even following back the people that follow you and liking their content, can make a world of difference.
This process can take as little as 15 minutes each day or some spend up to hours, responding and interacting with other users & followers.
2. Analyze & Pay attention to what works
If you posted something and it received a very good response, you should probably post more of that type of content, and don’t write it off as just luck. If there are a large number of people that have engaged with a particular post, you should take this as a sign that this is the type of content that they want to see more of from you.
Social media can be unpredictable and you can’t always know what’s going to reasonate with your audience so the best you can do is not only hope & guess, pay attention to your analytics.
Take a look back at previous posts and see what made the best impact with your following. Find that common theme and stick to it, as there is nothing worse than blindly producing social media content.
The timing of your post can play a major part on how successful your post can be. You could have really amazing content, but If you post it at a bad or unpopular time, only a small amount of your followers are going to see it.
So, when is the best time to post? The answer varies from person to person, and there is no one right answer. This all depends on the account and your following. Once again, you should be paying close attention to your analytics and looking to see when your followers are most active on Instagram.
If you’re unsure of what that is, you could also trial different times of day keeping in mind what time zone most of your followers are in and see how your content is received by your audience. By trialing this for a few weeks, you should be able to see a common pattern and then be able to optimize your posting times from there.
4. Utilize video content, Instagram Stories + IGTV
Video content simply shows the views which can be visually better than showing just the likes, also many say that Instagram is favoring video content, meaning it might receive more reach and impressions.
More than 300 million people use Instagram Stories daily and it should be used as a tool to further complement the content you post to your feed. Because stories often garner high engagement rates, you might call attention to your regular posts that could have gone unnoticed by your followers.
EXAMPLE: Post a story that says “NEW POST” “CHECK OUT OUR LATEST POST” and link it to your blog.
Better yet, you can let curiosity get the better of your following by cluing users to what your most recent post is about and hint that they should visit your account to see the post in full.
Instagram Story & IGTV are both relatively new features you can use to post more content. You should no longer only be posting to your feed. IGTV acts very similar as having your own YouTube channel as you can upload full length videos.
Instagram Story still disappears after 24 hours unless you add them as highlights in your bio to keep permanently. The good news is that you no longer have to post to your feed everyday.
The bad news (unless you are a creative individual or have a professional team on your side), you now have to work on a variety of content strategies to optimize your chances of connecting with your followers.
5. Post only the highest quality content & be consistent
The more active you are on Instagram the more you are going to appear in front of other users. This doesn’t mean posting multiple posts to your feed everyday, in fact Instagram made it quite clear they want you to post less often & higher quality. Now is a good time to work on your content strategy.
Better content is the #1 way of receiving more likes. It is important to plan in advance, stick to a schedule, only post clear or high resolution images in good lighting. You don’t need to be a photographer but the quality of the photo when posting to Instagram is extremely important.
You should keep some kind of consistency throughout your feed from the editing, the value you offer, the quality and type of content. Remember when users visit your profile they often only see the first few posts — What do these posts say about you or your brand?
Hopefully now you’re a guru yourself when it comes to what needs to be done to achieve your goals and expectations of successful engagement on Instagram.
Ready to take those next steps in growing your following? Talk to us today! For more information, visit us at gramiety.com or feel free to email us on firstname.lastname@example.org
Originally published at www.gramiety.com on February 7, 2019.